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AFS Announces 2018 Summer Institute on "How Communities Present Themselves to Others"

Tuesday, February 27, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rosalind V. Rini Larson

The American Folklore Society invites applications from U.S. graduate students and early-career professionals in folklore studies for our 2018 Summer Institute on Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage.

This year’s Institute is titled “How Communities Present Themselves to Others,” and it will take place June 2–12, 2018 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The China Folklore Society and the Folklore Society of Japan, our Institute partners, are also inviting applications from Chinese and Japanese graduate students and early-career professionals.

The Institute, made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation, will focus on case studies of the ways in which communities create, negotiate, shape, censor, change, and evaluate the presentations of themselves and their cultural expressions that they make to others. Participants and faculty will divide their time among presentations, field visits, and ample time for informal discussions.

Dates: The final schedule is still in preparation, but we expect that the Institute will take place on June 2–12, 2018, with travel days on May 31 (international participants) or June 1 (US participants) and June 13.

Place: The School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will serve as our residential location and Institute meeting site. Santa Fe (the capital of the US state of New Mexico) and its surrounding mountain and agricultural regions mix Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo-American cultural influences. First settled in 1607, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the U.S. and the second-oldest city in the country.

Schedule: The final schedule is still in preparation, but we expect that the Institute will include eight days of presentations and discussions at SAR and three days of field experiences in Santa Fe and in rural and small-town northern New Mexico.

Faculty: One faculty member from each of the sponsoring countries will participate: Hiroshi Kawamori of Kobe Women's University, Selina Morales of the Philadelphia Folklore Project, and Zhu Gang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Each faculty member will make a one-hour informal presentation on the institute topic and will take part in a follow-up discussion of that presentation. Additional short-term faculty may also take part.

Participants: We will accept two current graduate students or early-career professionals (who have completed their academic preparation within the last five years) in folklore studies from each of the sponsoring countries. US participants must be members of the American Folklore Society, but they need not be East Asian specialists. Each participant will make a one-hour informal presentation on the Institute topic that draws on her own work, and will take part in a follow-up discussion of that presentation.

Purposes, Requirements, and Expectations: The purposes of the Institute are to provide focused classroom and field learning experiences on the Institute topic; to introduce participants to the cultures of northern New Mexico; to educate participants about folklore and ICH scholarship and public practice as it is carried out in China, Japan, and the U.S.; and to help participants build relationships with institute colleagues.

No grades or academic credit will be given, but you will be expected to make a presentation on an Institute topic and to take part in a follow-up discussion on your presentation; to participate actively in all Institute presentations, discussions, social events, and field activities; and to submit a written evaluation after the Institute.

Language: Institute activities will be conducted in English. All participants should be proficient English speakers and listeners, and should prepare any PowerPoints or handouts for their presentations in English. Bilingual individuals will be available to assist with communications as necessary.

Climate and Health Considerations: Santa Fe is 7200 feet (2200 meters) above sea level. During the intensely sunny summer months, its high desert climate is extremely dry and high temperatures often reach 90°F (32°C) or above. If you have a health condition that will be affected by this altitude or climate, before applying you should carefully consider whether this Institute is right for you.

Cost: There is no fee for participating in the institute. Support provided to the AFS by the Henry Luce Foundation will cover participants’ costs for international and domestic travel, lodging, meals, and local transportation. Other personal expenses will be the responsibility of each participant.

To Apply: Send a letter outlining your relevant background and interests and the reasons you want to take part in the institute, along with a 100-word abstract of the presentation you propose to make and a current CV, to AFS Executive Director (and institute director) Dr. Jessica A. Turner at by April 6, 2018. Use that same email address for questions. We will announce decisions in late April.

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